Jayalalithaa, the reluctant yet excellent actor and politician
- Jayalalithaa's road to politics was paved by her film career since she met the then matinee idol MGR while working opposite him in Aaayirathil Oruvan.
- When she withdrew her support from BJP led NDA government, the country saw another Lok Sabha election within a year.
- Jayalalithaa is known for testing loyalty of her close allies.
In an interview with N. Ram of The Hindu in the year 2009, Jayalalithaa famously said, "I hate cinema, but my mother forced me into films; I hate politics, but MGR forced me into politics. Still I hate politics.”
Interestingly, this statement is by someone who excelled in both these fields, she acted in more than 140 movies and she emerged as a prominent political figure whose captured the attention of the entire nation.
As an actor, she was known as a thinking artist, a supposed rarity in this field and as a politician she was popular among masses and powerful in the corridors of power.
Jayalalithaa took over the AIADMK party from the iron grip of the founder M.G. Ramachanran, popularly known as M.G.R., and proved herself to be the worthy successor and received wide support from the party members till she breathed her last. This despite the fact that she was 'forced into politics'.
The born to be a leader, Jayalalithaa, was convent-educated who aspired to be an advocate in the lines of Ram Jethmalani and Fali S. Nariman, but despite her resistance Jayalalithaa was forced into the film industry.
In fact, her road to politics was paved by her film career since she met the then matinee idol MGR while working opposite him in Aaayirathil Oruvan.
In her own words, “It was a successful film, and it gave me an opportunity to meet and converse with MGR. It is not an exaggeration to say that the film paved the way for my entry into politics.” A statement that was made on the occasion of the 50th year of this movie's release.
She acted in 28 films opposite MGR and made her film career a success irrespective of the fact that she initially protested against joining this industry.
From films to politics:
Jayalalithaa's acting career spans over two decades between the 1960s to 80s and in 1982 she joined the AIADMK and addressed the Cuddalore party conference. Two years later she got nominated for Rajya Sabha membership, and her speeches did conquer many.
Jayalalithaa was not a conventional politician for whom power mean position; she was rather a game changer who could foresee and predict future situation. The 1998 Lok Sabha polls is a good example of her foresightedness that allowed the BJP government to come in power.
The next near, she withdrew her support from the central government and the country saw another election in 1999.
As a politician, loyalty is the principle she stood by all her life and career which commanded respect and admiration from her party workers and other politicians. Though her political career did have many ups and downs, yet everytime she knew how to bounce back without loosing support of the party members.
Close associated of Jayalalithaa had to go through several testing times just to show her their loyalty, but everytime they cleared the test they were rewarded too. By following a check and balance policy within the party she excelled as a leader and the party remained intact.